Thursday, November 5, 2015

Egypt: Dangerous Or Misunderstood?

If you're planning a trip to Egypt anytime soon, you better be prepared for all of your family and friends quickly starting to question your sanity; pictures representing Egypt in the worldwide media do not make it appear like it'd be a great idea! Only last month, 12 tourists were killed in the Western Desert of Egypt because the military believed them to be terrorists, thus killing them. You don't hear that every day. The same goes for the frequent reports on either small or big bombs going off and militants being killed in the Sinai. This week we reportedly had an ISIS plane crash there. Now nobody is claiming Egypt is as safe of a soil as Greenbow, Alabama, especially if one counts being verbally harassed as a woman and getting food poisoning as a danger, but we live in a world where people die of the most random things. As a resident in the Middle Easter country, I feel my account is accurate...

I was once in close proximity to a bomb going off, actually killing a police officer unlike the countless bombs some idiot, either someone disliking the government or wanting to appear that way, built on in their basements without a single clue about how one would do that and detonated in a rundown car. Most of these bombs don't detonate at all, therefore not even making the headlines because it's some hobbyist bomb builder who is making a fool of himself. In pretty much all cases, even the successful detonations, nobody is harmed though. Needless to say, if there are injuries or casualties, the international community goes berzerk over it. At the same time, thousands die every year in Cairo because traffic is back. For some reason that never stopped the tourists.

The fact is that as a Cairo resident I am in fact risking my life but more so by crossing the street or being a writer than being a tourist in the wrong place. People stop going on holiday in South Sinai because an odd 300 kilometers away some terrorists are trying to make a difference. If you told you parents you're vacationing there, I'd get their worry. In Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab or Hurghada, however, your bigger problem is not speaking Russian because the Russian tourists are not afraid and show up in the thousands. And once you're done worrying, you will have the most amazing seafood, the cheapest and most amazing diving lessons and the most chilled and breathtaking scenery to enjoy. The bottom line is: if you ain't a pussy you cash in big time in Egypt!

My roommate left last night to change residency from Egypt to Syrian Kurdistan. One may argue that's not the safest place to be right now either. However, if you live your life based on where you have the biggest chances of survival you might as well just lock yourself up in a log cabin somewhere in the Mid-West. Be warned that your life will suck though! In other words: I get that people consider the increased risk of being close to a bomb in Egypt, but that risk is ridiculously unjustified considering there are 20 million people here. Between me and the next destructive thing happening here might only be a distance of a mile but there are one million people between here and there that would be more likely to be affected by it than me. Death can find you anywhere, here he just has to look for you more intensely.

Yes, there's more chaos and harassment. And yes, we lose more people to terrorists on ground than in Europe. And maybe that Mexican tourist incident and plane crash was a result of failuresComing to Egypt is safe! For me, the problem is neither the bombs, the terrorists or the government. My biggest problem here are heartless landlords, greedy vendors and low-lives that grope women. If these people would disappear my life would be much more secure. If tourists stay away because they think there should be tenants rights in Egypt or harder punishments for sex offenders, then I'm with them. But since they're not, I can only say "Your loss!"...
that would not have happened somewhere else. But, and it's a big but, a trip to Egypt's amazing tourist spots does not equal a signature on your death certificate.

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